Agastya sparrow site

Proud maverick Tony Parkin takes flight to southern India to meet a like-minded group of educators

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to those who know me, but having once been labelled a maverick by a disapproving senior leadership team, I have worn that badge with pride ever since.

So imagine my delight when the status was officially confirmed by an invitation to attend a Maverick Teachers Global Summit. And, even better, it was to be held in India, a country I had long wished to visit, and the event was to be led by Gavin Dykes, who I have known for many years and with whom I have worked on Education Fast Forward. But then the facilitator word was used!

Agastya participants

Gavin Dykes on how a London meeting about education for ‘real world’ problems sparked the real thing

The meeting’s challenge was to inspire action to solve ‘real world problems’: “How can we support greater courage and innovation among teachers, and encourage us all to open our eyes to different challenges across the world?”

The responses came quickly: “Would focusing on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals help?” “Yes, but not goal 4, on education! Education should address ALL the goals.” And they had a great outcome: the Maverick Teachers Global Summit 2016 in India.

Mozart Dee

Who needs a juggernaut edtech show when you can have ‘human scale’ local events?

Regional edtech events have many advantages over the behemoths like London’s BETT show at ExCeL, not least of which are human scale, rich networking, easy access and atmospheric locations.

These are all true of the Animate 2 Educate "Tech on the Tyne Conference" on Friday June 9 at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. It’s also imaginative. Flying in from Los Angeles will be 16-year-old speaker Mozart Dee, who bridges cultures, generations and learning (she was home educated).

Naace Award Cadoxton

Recession hurting organisations as well as schools, as policy failures bite 

'Austerity' is already hitting school budgets, but it’s also playing havoc with organisations that support schools.

Naace, the UK professional membership organisation for those involved with learning and technology, is in the throes of a financial crisis. It's undertaking urgent measures to cut costs and transform itself online using its own volunteers (rather than full-time officers) and the digital technologies it helps schools with. The ICT crunch is here.

'Changes' app team

Tony Parkin reports back from the UK's own digital creativity 'Oscars', Apps for Good 

The Apps for Good Annual Launch is always a wonderfully joyous occasion. Removed from the nerve-wracking ‘will we or won’t we’ tension of the midsummer competition finals, this event is an entirely celebratory affair, at which the winning schools get to show off the apps created as a result of their efforts.

And this year marked yet another stage in the maturity of this always-impressive organisation, as the acclaimed Changes app takes it into puberty.